Please pray that my family will have traveling mercies. (What are those?)
I have an unspoken request. (Oxymoron much?)
I wonder sometimes what Christian conversations look like to “outsiders” who don’t share the same belief system. 😉
I feel that sometimes the trite phrases or bad grammar we use in Christianity may be a hindrance to drawing others toward Christ. Unlike God’s unchanging Word, our own flawed speech can be become meaningless, or even disconnected from reality. For example, in the first phrase is a very weak usage of the meaning of “mercy”, which I think undermines the expression greatly. That is similar to how the word “love” is cheapened in society in its various irreverent uses. Phrases like these have the potential to confuse those who are not familiar with Christianity, as well as being non-specific and sometimes dishonest. Try these more meaningful variations of the phrases I included previously:
I’d appreciate if you could pray that my family will be protected during our travels across the states, and that if any problems come up, we will be well-equipped to handle them, with patience and the right attitude.
I would like if you could pray about an issue that I’d prefer not to share details about for personal reasons (and/or) because I’m not comfortable going into the details.
Simple. To the point. Say what you mean, rather than beat around the bush. Even though these phrases are more specific, though, sometimes we can hide behind them. Communicating openly and honestly requires effort, and risk. It is rarely something that fits neatly into two or three words. I return again to the two given examples: First, why do we fear that something bad will happen to us every time we leave the house? Troubles may happen. We need to be prepared for trouble all the time, and trust that God is able to help us. Granted, getting ready to travel may take spiritual preparation, but it’s still important not to frame life poorly. Every car is not set out to crash into you, an event which you can only be spared by a swift act of God’s grace (though He is certainly a gracious God). Are there dangers in the outside world? Absolutely. Should we go out with a spirit of fear? Never. It’s not from God.
Next, although it takes time and effort to become comfortable sharing prayer requests, sometimes we can use the unspoken “pray for me” as a cop-out from opening up. You don’t have to share your problems with everyone (and it’s not appropriate to share some problems with everyone in the whole church, it’s important to have discretion) – but if you want someone to be able to effectively pray for you, it can be helpful to give them the appropriate level of information to do so. By the way- here’s a hint. 😉 If most of your prayers revolve around your schoolwork going well and that your friend’s knee will stop hurting, you’re probably holding something back. God wants to shape souls, not just your level of comfort. Be honest with trusted (and trustworthy) individuals about your personal struggles, including in your own prayers.
I am curious. Sometimes I feel that church-speak is particularly distracting to me, and I’d like to know how others feel about this issue. How does church-speak affect your relationships with others? Do you agree that it may make teaching the Gospel message more difficult, or do you think “it ain’t nothin’ but a thing? 😉 You can leave your thoughts in the comments section. =)
Art Credit: The Help